Most people feel the most comfortable when the air humidity is around 40 to 70 per cent. But air humidity levels in aircraft cabins can often fall as low as 20 per cent and this can lead to various problems such as; dry skin; dry eyes; sore or dry nose; sore or dry throat; general discomfort. These can all lead to dehydration. In turn, this can create headaches and sleepiness and lead to an increase in the risks of urinary tract infection and deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
You can do much to avoid these possible problems; drink at least a glass of water
every half hour; avoid tea, coffee, alcohol and fizzy drinks; eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables; avoid anything rich or salty; wear breathable, natural fabrics; wear spectacles rather than contact lenses; apply moisturising eye drops, facial moisturisers and water sprays to keep skin hydrated or cover your nose and mouth with a damp cloth, such as a flannel. Don’t direct the overhead ventilators at your
Many people experience ear problems when taking off and landing. These tend to be
irritating rather than dangerous but are worth trying to resolve a.s.a.p. What happens is this. During take-off and landing, air pressure variations are created in the cabin. This can lead to an air pocket expanding in the inner ear and a blockage in what is known as the Eustachian tube. That’s what causes the earache.
You can keep that all-important Eustachian tube open by; yawning theatrically; sucking sweets (the old barley sugar trick does work for some people); trying the valsalva manoeuvre, which involves holding your nose to seal the airway,closing your mouth and then breathing out gently to relieve the resistance. Try all three, and see which one works best for you.
Arms & Legs
If you are on a long-haul flight of eight or nine hours for example to America, you’ll want to give some consideration to legroom before booking. The legroom on aircraft can actually vary from 74cm up to 91cm or more – that’s a big difference and you’ll find that even an extra 2.5cm can make a difference to your comfort and health. Check the legroom before booking - to be blunt, it can be worth paying extra to upgrade to roomier seats or to fly by a different airline just to get that all-important extra space for your legs.
There is much you can also do during the flight. Here are some useful exercises you
can do. During the flight; regularly move your feet in circles; flex and point your toes; stretch and massage your calves; stroll up and down the aisle every hour. It is also important to avoid; sitting in the same position for too longcrossing your legs or ankles; taking sleeping pills unless you can sleep horizontally.
The thin air inside the aircraft can cause breathlessness especially if you are; overweight; asthmatic; pregnant; suffer from a lung-related illness or disease.If you fall into any of these categories, you need to think about taking care of your breathing. Although your body should adjust itself during the flight, you may wish to ease the problem as soon as possible. You can do this by relaxing your shoulders and stomach muscles, leaning forward and taking slow, deep breaths.
If the breathlessness persists and makes you feel uncomfortable or alarmed, you can ask the cabin crew for oxygen. Thin air can also lead to fainting, and this happens most often when someone stands up quickly after having sat still for most of a long flight. Be aware that this can happen. It tends to look more dramatic than it is, although there is the risk of injury. To avoid this happening, flex your body all over before standing up. This can help to pump blood to your head. Stand up slowly, holding your seat. Wait for a few minutes before walking.
Tricks of the Trade
Feel good throughout the flight by wearing several layers of loose, lightweight clothes. Reduced air pressure in the cabin can cause air within your body to expand. Loose clothes are a must. Wear loose shoes as well. If you wear tight shoes, be wary of taking them off during the flight. You may find it hard to put them back on at the end.
Having several layers of clothes is helpful. The cabin temperature can vary during a
flight and you may feel cold, then warm, then cold again. You can add or remove layers to suit the temperature.
Avoid hypoxidosis – mild altitude sickness caused by oxygen deficiency - by sitting
still and closing your eyes, sipping cool water every few minutes and trying to relax. If you need to, ask cabin crew for an air bag to breathe into. Reduce your risk of catching germs from re-circulating air by taking vitamin C as a booster in the week up to flying. Smear Vaseline inside your nostrils when in the air cabin – and smear again as and when necessary.
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